On the last Friday of every month, hundreds of people stream in and out of galleries, restaurants, bars and coffee shops in pursuit of art and music. Traveling with the flow of the crowds is the unassuming Adam Dorssom with what appears to be a vintage briefcase at his side. With his quiet demeanor and shy grin, passersby who aren’t paying close attention might assume Dorssom just another visitor touring the exhibits. When Dorssom catches the eye of an interesting person, or spots an open tabletop, he pops open his case to reveal its secret. Inside is Dorssom’s entire gallery, The Small Space. Stacks of small prints, original artworks and tiny sculptures fill the case, flanked by the familiar lining of the gallery’s previous life as a backgammon game.
Inspired by Vancouver artist, Lee Henderson, who ran a non-profit commercial art gallery out of a black hard-shell briefcase, Dorssom began looking around for the right case until he located the backgammon case at Lawrence’s Antique Mall. Originally called The Backgammon Showcase, the miniature gallery’s first “tour” was launched four months ago with a group show curated by Dorssom. He later renamed the gallery The Small Space.
Dorssom takes the shows out and about at Final Fridays as well as to friends’ homes, bars and coffee shops. Thus far, The Small Space is gathering fame through word of mouth, Facebook and chance encounters. “[The Small Space] is run like any other gallery with one big exception,” says Dorssom. ” I don’t take any commission from the artists. My cut or commission is getting to run in to people, those chance encounters.” Citing accessibility as his main goal, Dorssom strives to only show works in the $10 – $30 range, though some works have been priced up to $50. At these prices, as you can imagine, show sales have been a wild success, and The Small Space is already booked with a series of solo and group shows through December.
Future hopes for The Small Space are big. Dorssom hopes to create an international exchange with artist, Yuri Zupancic, who is currently located in Australia. “Yuri was my introduction to the Lawrence art scene. I first met him outside the dotdotdot [Artspace] several years ago. He had a flute case that he was displaying his microchip paintings in. It would be cool to do a show exchange with him.”
Until The Small Space goes international though, keep your eye out. Dorssom will be out this Final Friday with a new show by local artist and close friend of Dorssom’s, Ariel Richards Pearson.